What’s going on under your reporting?

Mark Atkins, Intraversed

ESTIMATED READING TIME: 2 MINUTES

You ask for a report. Or maybe it’s quarterly report time.

The due date comes, the report turns up on your desk or in your inbox. Great!

You review them, and provided things are stable or moving in a favourable direction, you’re happy. You use the numbers in your decision making.

Everything is rosy. It’s business as usual. Your information flow is healthy and timely.

Really?

Do you really understand what has gone on to get that report onto your desk?

And if something does look odd…

...not just “we had a bad month” odd...

...but odd as in inconsistent with previous reports, inexplicable changes, conflicting numbers, then what do you do?

If you question the odd numbers does it lead to a complicated (and often expensive) IT investigation to explain or resolve the oddity?

Hopefully, that scenario doesn’t sound familiar. But you’d have to be lucky.

When reports are generated, whether regularly or one-offs, the business leaders who rely on those reports are often completely unaware of the amount of effort, time and human-effort consumed in order to produce them.

We had one client who described the effort to create certain reports requested by her head honcho as “a herculean task”.

Seriously, you might be alarmed.

Even worse, when the figures don’t seem right, and a resolution is required, you may come to see just how little anyone understands the full picture of what’s going on.

And that’s dangerous for business assurance.

What’s under the surface?

Your reporting figures are like the tip of an iceberg.

What’s going on under your reporting?

Your reports and figures are what you see above the surface. They’re confined and neat and (hopefully) impressive. They indicate where to steer your business ship.

But if no one can see under the surface, then you’re steering that ship with unseen risk.

So what’s under the surface?

Your information management.

And we’re going to break down the three foundational areas of information management for you.

Those three core foundations are:

Your culture

What’s going on under your reporting?If your people don’t know or understand how to achieve great quality information, or they just don’t care about doing that, they won’t do it. And if they’re not reminded that it’s important and supported with investment and training, they’ll forget or de-prioritise it.

Your language

Providing a standardised, common language, throughout your organisation, is the single most powerful thing you can do to help your people improve information quality. It enables clear communication, faster IT projects, less project failure and much more streamlined reporting processes.

Your information artefacts

The information resources used to create your reporting numbers need to be managed and governed as comprehensively as the data underlying them. They need to be accessible and life-cycle managed, they need owners and responsible parties and they need a mechanism for recording and resolving issues related to these artefacts.

When these foundations are well managed, you’ll have the visibility you need to assign accountability, you’ll understand where you need to expand capability and you’ll have the measurability you need to ensure governance and management are actually happening and quality is being maintained.

Only then will you get reliable numbers without wasteful, herculean effort, and be able to make business decisions with confidence.

Mark Atkins, Intraversed

Mark Atkins

Mark is a co-founder & Chief Development Officer at Intraversed, helping organisations establish the Intralign Ecosystem, an award winning information management & governance methodology, to achieve reliable information, stable tech spend & greater IT project success.

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